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When Children Ask, What Will We Say?

Davie Jane Gilmour Community, From the President, Inspiration 2 Comments October 25, 2016

When Children Ask, What Will We Say?

What have we come to?

I tuned into each of the Presidential Debates.  However, I confess I was only able to watch for about 20 minutes.  The reason why is simple. I began to think about my 11-year- old grandson.

The behavior of the candidates – both of them – is behavior we would not tolerate from young children.  We teach children manners, respect and general good behavior traits.  We teach young people not to interrupt, not to call names, not to tell lies, and to respect differing opinions.

In our Presidential Debates, we saw two educated adults behaving so badly that I cannot imagine how I would explain the behavior to my grandson.  If he should, rightfully, ask me why they are behaving like this, I would not know how to answer.

When two people, who want to lead our nation, exhibit despicable behavior … they tarnish our respect for the presidency and our country.

He is now in middle school and I want him to begin to understand our system of government and that electing a president is a big deal.  The right to vote is important and something not all citizens of the world enjoy.  But instead of an opportunity for learning and expanding his view, the debates turned into something I’d rather he not watch at all.

What does this say about our country, our civility and our future?  This is a nonpartisan question that I am asking.  It is also a sad question and I don’t have an answer, but I do have some personal feelings that I would like to share, not only as a college president, but also as a concerned grandparent.

Despicable behavior is unacceptable for anyone – children and candidates included. When two people, who want to lead our nation, exhibit despicable behavior – not only in private, but also in public events as important as the Presidential Debates – they tarnish our respect for the presidency and our country. They also tarnish our nation’s image around the world.

The right to vote is important and something not all citizens of the world enjoy.

As I watched the debates, thinking of my grandson, I remembered the two candidates also are grandparents. Their behavior was – and should have been seen by their families, as well as mine, as – an embarrassment. It is not something we can ignore.

Perhaps as bad as the candidates’ behavior, was the spending of millions of dollars on campaign advertisements, including television commercials and print ads that displayed even more bad behavior.  Imagine what good could have been done with that money! Imagine the lost opportunity for these candidates to model behaviors that would inspire in our children!

This November, I will vote, but I will do so with a heavy heart and with an enormous sense of embarrassment and shame for what this election represents for all of us.

We can – we must – do better.


Post by:

Davie Jane Gilmour

Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour is the President of the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Penn College, a special mission campus of the Pennsylvania State University, is a national leader in applied technology education.

Comments – 2 Comments

Very well said Dr. Gilmour. I recently watched a senatorial debate and almost forgot that they can be civil and respectful while still presenting dissenting opinions and platforms. It was night and day compared to the presidential debates.

The presidential election this year has become a circus and we are all worse off for it. There are still significant challenges that we as a country face and come November 9th, we need to all find a way to come together and move forward — no matter who wins.

Posted by Tom Garrett on October 25, 2016 at 9:48 pm

Dr. Gilmour, I completely agree with your opinion in regards to both of these candidates, but we do have a third option this Presidential Election, but main stream media refused to allow Gary Johnson to participate at the debates. Former Governor Gary Johnson and Former Governer Bill Weld are definitely great alternates to the other two candidates who just want to attack each other instead of telling us how they are going to turn our country around. We have problems and issues that need to be addressed instead of it being a popularity and name calling contest. I do believe the two party system has failed the American people and it’s time for much needed change. Johnson and Weld offers the possibility of the much needed change.

Posted by Vince Baus III on October 25, 2016 at 11:24 pm

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